In order to develop my project I felt that I needed to go beyond my immediate community and seek more stories to tell from tell. As a response I decided to put an open call for participants using facebook in a specific group which brought a specific group.
The group I reached out, was brought together as a result of the death of a personal friend. Chrissy was in is early forties and my connection to him was via the football environment. However, he was know to many in the area and when news of his death spread an online community formulated to celebrate stories of him, this then turned into a charity football match and has now become a memorial community where people share stories and connect.
Having challenged a mental health theme in the last module I felt compelled to continue to open up the conversation about mental health within this module. I’d originally decided to move away from this theme however my thoughts continually lead back to my personal concerns. Read surmises the nagging feeling at the back of my mind appropriately by stating.
Read (2017) ‘Looking back at the concerns that form the backbone of the work and the interests which fuel it, with or without input from others, will serve to provide evidence of where they have been and point the direction for the future.
In following my personal feelings, as a result of events of the past, my outlook on the course has shifted and the experience of loss leads to a type of reassessment. And the opportunity I have to utilise my photographic literacy to make a positive contribution to the community.
Laurent (2017) in the Time website writes about photographers as ‘the ones who sort all of the chaos of the world into images that bring clarity to the free for all of life.’ Referring to the photographic literacy developed throughout the course, I find myself in a unique position to represent my local community in challenging the theme of mental health, especially in males.
In keeping with the rational of conducting interviews and making photographs I am able to represent the community by producing a photo book. This is the most appropriate direction as a book will become a type of album to celebrate the community in addition to encouraging people to contribute to something precious.
Taking quotes from the interviews to use as text within the book feels like an appropriated direction as it will anchor the meaning of the photographs and produce a sense that the emergence of the book is a direct result of the photographer.
Abel-Hirsch (2014) cites Subotzky “People see a camera and think you’re photographing for the Daily Sun,” he says. So it was essential to explain what they were doing. Photography has always been about relationships for Subotzky anyway — “the pressing of the button is almost a by-product of engaging with people”.
By coupling the photographs with the interviews I have found the photographic event less of an aggressive act when collaborating with the community. And Subotzky makes very relevant comments her which apply to the work I will continue to make.
Abel-Hirsch, H. (2014) Ponte City and the urban myth. The Mail and Guardian. [Online] Available at:
https://mg.co.za/article/2014-08-22-00-ponte-city-and-the-urban-myth/ (Accessed 12th Feb 2021)
Laurent (2017) Why We Do It: Photographers and Photo Editors on the Passion That Drives Their Work [Online] Available at: https://time.com/4839246/photographers-passion/ [accessed ]18th March 2021
Read and Simmons (2017) Photographers and Research, The Role of Research in Contemporary Photographic Practice. Taylor and Francis, New York.